Is there anything about this past quarter that has not been said? No.
Amidst a polar vortex, a pandemic, inflexible school-wide grading policies, winter 2021 was rough. In terms of fatigue, physical and mental exhaustion, no quarter has come close to this. I am frankly just drained. And I feel like now I’m just getting a chance to look at how everything went as a whole, from then to now.
The first few weeks of the quarter were surprisingly mellow. I had felt like I was on top of everything and was pacing myself well. My readings were really up my alley and it seemed like winter was gonna be a step-up from fall. And then, as expected, the weather just went downhill and Zoom finally got to me. It almost felt as though we had returned to spring 2020, where ZoomU was all new, and I had nowhere near the energy to be as present. During the coldest parts of the quarter where I wasn’t leaving the house to go study at a library, every single day felt the same:
1) wake-up routine + breakfast
2) go to class
3) make lunch
4) go to class
7) more work
8) night-time routine + sleep
The one thing that I felt like just frustrated me much, much more than anything that had happened this past quarter was a bit that I wrote in a thread a few days ago:
My professors taught me incredible material. I learned so much this quarter and refined my perspectives on specific facets of the world. But the material I was reading about, the papers I wrote, just became demoralizing. It just made it so much more difficult day in, day out has to constantly read about how Black people are exploited, or how Indigenous peoples fighting for their land rights continuously get crushed by the state. This all came with no context on any of the ways peoples were waging radical/revolutionary struggles to fight for their freedom, no vision for what kept people continuing to organize.
Had I not already been in community with other people this quarter, learning and reading together with folks who want to go beyond coursework, I don’t think I could have been able to keep up with the tone of much of my classes. One of the few bright spots the past nine weeks or so has been the way I’ve begun to prioritize doing my reading on top of the texts I was covering in school. It gave me the necessary optimism and excitement about the world that I felt had been missing in studying inside the academy.
I think that for as much as this quarter had its ups, I just don’t want to think about it anymore. I don’t have many moments that I remember vividly, but I think the one thing that helped me get through this quarter was the friends that supported me throughout all of it. Lots of long evening convos with the roommates and extended Zoom study sessions were really what pushed me enough through the finish line. I don’t even really know how coherent I am today, but I am just excited to recharge a bit, read more, and get outside. Let’s just keep winter 2021 locked away deep inside my brain.
Being Noah Tesfaye #175: A Quarter I’d Like to Lock Away
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